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[personal profile] alobear
Last night, I went to Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake for the second of three planned trips for this run. I took three new initiates with me and they were blown away, just as I was the first time I saw it, now some years ago. Throughout the opening sections, I kept thinking how clever and fun, funny and tragic it was - but also wondering quite why I was so enthused as to book three sets of tickets nearly a year ago, on learning it was coming back to London.

Then the swans turned up and I was mesmerised for half an hour until the interval. And the drama of the second half remained undiminished, with the visceral ending delivering its emotional gut punch right on cue. Can't wait for January when I get to share it with even more people!

Earlier today, I finished listening to The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, read by the wonderful Wil Wheaton. It was lovely to spend time with Wil in my ears again - he's such a great narrator and his style suited this book well. I liked all the characters, the world-building was good, the premise was really interesting and I'm very much looking foreward to finding out what happens in the rest of the series.

Today, I also went to see The Old Man and The Gun, which was very leisurely and undramatic, but in a quietly affecting way. It was, at heart, a cops and robbers story, but I liked all the characters on both sides. The women were a bit marginalised, and only really there as props for the arcs of the men, but the relationships rang true and got me invested. It was tale about finding your passion and following it no matter what, but also a rather sad tale about people not being able to change, even for those they love. I enjoyed it, and it was good to see Robert Redford doing what he does best - charming the pants of everyone without even trying. There was also an awesome and very subtle reference to The Sting towards the end, which I loved.

Earlier in the week, I read Disobedience by Naomi Alderman, which was also a much quieter and less dramatic story than I was expecting. Based on my knowledge of watching the trailer for the film, it went in a direction I didn't see coming, and I loved the way the inter-relationships between the main characters played out. It was subtle and profound, very real and also in some ways unreal. I really enjoyed it, and I think it's extremely well written.

Tonight, I watched the film version, and found it rather disappointing. The dynamics between the three main characters were altered in the simplification of the story. In the book, Esti, Ronit and Dovid present an almost entirely united front, which is one of the things I loved about it. In the film, the antagonist from the book is removed, so Dovid becomes the antagonist. There's a lot more drama and a lot more conflict, and I think the story suffered as a result. The ending is much more ambiguous as well, which I also didn't like. I can understand why the changes were made from a filmic point of view, but it changed the tone and significance of the story in a way that I thought diminished its power. Great performances all round, though.

March 2019

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